Watching this years NFL playoff games, you can’t help but notice the latest NFL trend of utilizing the “Super Ends”; tight ends that are too big and athletic for safeties and outside linebackers to cover. You may have heard of a few this offseason: Jimmy Graham (Saints), Vernon Davis (49ers), Gronkowski and Hernandez (Pats). These guys are big, strong, pass catching machines, and deadly offensive weapons that are considerably different than the block specialist/extra offensive tackles of old. What these guys may lack in blocking technique, they more than make up for with matchup problems in the passing game. The ability to throw the football out of 21, 22 and 23 personnel (1,2 and 3 TE sets) can really hurt a defensive game plan. In other words, when the defensive coaches see multiple tight ends running into the huddle, they have to match the offense accordingly by sending in their larger defensive personnel groups, giving the offense the ability to take advantage of the Super End matchup problems, allowing the yards after catch numbers on these guys to sky rocket.
The Browns already have a stable of Tight Ends on their roster, with Ben Watson, Evan Moore, Jordan Cameron (not to be confused with Cameron Jordan), Alex Smith, and Dan Gronkowski (brother of Super End Rob). According to Sporttrac.com, Alex Smith is a free agent this year, Watson in 2013, Moore in 2014, Cameron in 2015. Gronkowski was picked up this year off of waivers due to injury, and is unfortunately no where near as good as his super younger brother. Watson was supposed to be a smart pickup last year as an intelligent veteran leader. The guy supposedly scored a 48 on his wonderlic test, which makes him a genius in the football world, but had some of the biggest bone-head drops of this season (with some bone-headed penalties on the side). He was our third leading receiver this year (which isn’t saying much) with 37 catches, even though he was targeted 70 times.
Evan Moore has the potential to grow into a Super End. He has the size (6’6” 250), and has shown big-play ability, scoring 4 touchdowns this year on only 47 targets. He creates those match up problems that you need, and will hopefully be more involved in the offense next year. Jordan Cameron was a late round draft pick that is fairly raw, but played college basketball (and some WR at USC) just like Jimmy Graham and Antonio Gates did, and could turn into a serious weapon. He’s large (6’5” 245) and can use his basketball to go up and get the football. Having a full offseason this year could lead to the Browns creating matchup problems all season next year, and I hopefully one of these guys can super-size their statistics from last year.